- The coach called him to explain his project and the Ivorian, surprised, told him that he did not have Barcelona DNA, but the Terrassa man convinced him by stating that he needed physical players like him to protect the other midfielders
Franck Kessie became the first reinforcement of FC Barcelona 2022-23 last Wednesday. The 25-year -old Ivorian midfielder signed for the next four seasons, with a clause of 500 million euros after arriving with the letter of freedom from AC Milan.
However, the story of his signing for Barcelona was forged over a slow fire since last January, when he was already free to negotiate with any club. Although he already had important proposals on the table, both in sports and financial matters, Kessie was in no hurry to decide. Aware that it was a market opportunity, and despite the pressure, he was under in Milan to renew with the ‘Rossonero’ club, the Ivorian preferred to wait and, unhurriedly, decide what was best for his future.
Barcelona appeared, which was slow to take the step after an internal debate in the sports area about the suitability or not of Kessie for the Barça midfield. The same player, who felt very flattered when his agent transferred the interest of Barcelona, did not have everything with him. And not because the Barça club’s proposal was significantly inferior to the others economically, but because he had doubts that his style would fit in with Barcelona. In fact, these same doubts did not dissipate until Xavi Hernandez, coach of FC Barcelona, picked up the phone and called him to explain his sports project and the role he had reserved for him in the team for next season.
Xavi’s call, decisive
“ Kessie, I need you”, said Xavi in a few words when he contacted the player. The Ivorian thanked the Barça coach for the gesture but asked him to explain why he was betting on him if he did not have Barcelona DNA. The one from Terrassa, who during his time as a player shared a dressing room with other Africans in midfield such as Toure Yaya or Seydou Keita, explained that he needed players with strength and experience in midfield and that his role in the team would consist of protect the other midfielders who do have Barcelona DNA, with the intention that they may have more freedom when attacking because Kessie will be covering them behind their backs.